Off the Tracks! NHL Power Rankings Week 4
By Kevin Mejia
BIGGEST JUMP: New York Islanders, 13
BIGGEST DROP: Los Angeles Kings, 9
- Boston Bruins (9-1-2) (UP 1) – To be fair, I don’t like Boston sports. But everyone in the world knows that the Bruins are the best team in the NHL right now. David Pastrňák leads the league with 24 points and 12 goals. Tuukka Rask leads the NHL with a .951 save percent. The team chemistry is there, the depth is scoring, and the defense is all world. The Bruins are currently riding a 4-game win streak and will extend it Saturday versus Ottawa.
- Colorado Avalanche (8-2-1) (DOWN 1) – The Avs played a back to back this past Friday and Saturday, splitting the two games. They slammed the breaks off the Vegas Golden Knights 6-1 but succumbed to the second half of the back to back, losing 5-2 to Anaheim. Colorado outshot both teams by a combined 77-53. Nathan MacKinnon has extended his season opening point streak to 11 games. I forgot to mention Mikko Rantanen went down with a leg injury last Monday, the 21st. The Avs are doing just fine.
- Washington Capitals (9-2-3) (UP 2) – Well D.C… where do I even start?? Juan Soto? Anthony Rendon? John Carlson? Nicklas Bäckström? Stephen Strasburg? Alex Ovechkin? Two of the hottest teams in North America played well last night, as John Carlson and Alex Ovechkin each scored twice to beat Toronto in overtime. In Houston, Stephen Strasburg pitched 8 and 1/3, only giving up 2 runs in the 1st inning. Anthony Rendon had a 2-run homer and 5 rbi. With no hockey tonight, tune into Game 7 of the World Series in Houston.
- Buffalo Sabres (9-2-2) (DOWN 1) – A semi-disappointing week for the Sabres. They become the first team to 20 points in the league, but it comes at a loss to the Coyotes in a shootout. The Sabres went 1-1-1 over the past week with a regulation loss versus the Rangers and a win in Detroit. There are no noticeable issues with the team. This stretch will just be a hiccup in the Sabres season. Jack Eichel leads the team in scoring and potted this goal on his birthday.
- New York Islanders (8-3-0) (UP 13) – THE HOTTEST TEAM IN THE NHL IS THE NEW YORK ISLANDERS. The Islanders are currently riding a 7-game win streak. The Isles most recently have beaten Philadelphia, Ottawa, and Arizona. At the moment, 3 of the 7 wins come against teams in the playoffs. The Isles will play a hungry Tampa Bay team Friday, followed by a game Saturday versus the Sabres. This back to back might be brutal. Head coach Barry Trotz and Matthew Barzal lead the way for the Isles.
- Carolina Hurricanes (8-3-1) (UP 1) – Another goal of the year candidate this week, courtesy of Andrei Svechnikov performing the famous “Michigan” move. The Canes keep finding ways to win after a difficult California road trip. Carolina rebounded with a 2-0-1 record over the last week, blowing a 3-1 lead to Columbus before winning against Chicago and Calgary in Raleigh. Petr Mrázek and James Reimer have been a little above league average with save percentages of .917 and .918, respectively. Carolina is back on track.
- Nashville Predators (8-3-1) (UP 4) – Smashville is hot! Back on the country music bandwagon! Winners of 4 straight games, the Preds are doing just fine. Roman Josi is also doing just fine, as he has signed an 8-year extension worth $9 million per year. An absolutely absurd deal for one of the best defensemen in the league. Take note, this is 100 percent a hometown discount. 2 of the 4 wins in the heater have been shutouts. They’ve allowed 3 goals in the other 2 games. Watch out.
- Arizona Coyotes (7-3-1) (UP 2) – Don’t sleep on this team!!! The Yotes beat one of the best teams in the league Monday night in Buffalo. After a close game versus the Isles (4-2 loss, with an empty netter) the Coyotes took down the dangerous Devils. In their games against the Devils and Sabres, Arizona overcame 2-0 first period deficits to win. Arizona has managed their low scoring totals by getting contributions from all around; 8 players have 5 or more points. The Coyotes will welcome in Montreal tonight.
- Vegas Golden Knights (8-5-0) (DOWN 4) – The Golden Knights split 2 critical games over the weekend, getting romped by the Avalanche by 5, but more importantly, a huge 5-2 win over division rival Anaheim. Vegas limited Anaheim to just 15 shots for the entire game, while Vegas shelled 49 shots on Anaheim keeper John Gibson. Vegas fans surely would’ve loved to see the Golden Knights play better versus an elite Colorado squad, but a win versus a division team is big. Mark Stone sits at 16 points to lead the Knights.
- Vancouver Canucks (7-3-1) (DOWN 2) – Well, well, well… YA LOVE TO SEE IT! The Canucks are heating up and hitting their stride. The Canucks might have blown a 5-1 lead to the Caps Friday night but a 7-2 smackdown of the Panthers Monday night provides hope for the young team. Elias Pettersson continues to dominate with 14 points. The Canucks will be California dreaming as they head down route 101 to take on the Kings, Ducks, and Sharks before returning home next Tuesday versus St. Louis.
- Pittsburgh Penguins (8-5-0) (DOWN 2) – The Pens are still the Pens. A hard, hard loss to the Lightning last week has been followed up with wins versus two teams that will not be making the playoffs. A 3-0 shutout versus Dallas was nicely checked with a 7-1 smashing of the Flyers. Sidney Crosby is still ridiculous as ever, scoring a sharp angle goal in the thrashing of the Flyers, collecting 3 points total. The Pens will play Boston this upcoming Monday in a show me game.
- Edmonton Oilers (8-4-1) (DOWN 8) – The Oilers are coming back down to Earth… or maybe their depth isn’t scoring? A repeated theme today will be 2 game losing streaks. The Oilers have one, after losing to Florida and Detroit. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have combined for 44 points in 13 games. The depth isn’t scoring like they have been early in the season. GM Ken Holland needs to address this issue sooner rather than later, as James Neal seems to have slowed down after a hot start.
- Anaheim Ducks (8-6-0) (NO MOVEMENT) – Wacky team of the week award goes to the Ducks! The Ducks started off with a 2-1 loss in Dallas, a dominant win in Colorado, a loss in Vegas, and a 7 spot versus the Jets last night. Huh. John Gibson is the reason this team is afloat it seems. Gibson has a .923 save percent. Duck’s defense prospect Josh Mahura was excellent in his season debut against Winnipeg as he delivered with 3 assists. The Ducks host the Canucks Friday.
- Montreal Canadiens (5-4-2) (UP 2) – Montreal split their two games over the past week, losing 4-2 to San Jose while pounding Toronto by a margin of 3 goals. Jonathan Drouin is heating up, scoring 2 silky breakaway goals versus the Leafs this past Saturday. Drouin has 10 points in 11 games this season. Carey Price must play better than his .907 save percent for the Canadiens to make the playoffs, as the Canadiens sit outside the playoff picture right now. Joel Armia has goals in 3 straight.
- St. Louis Blues (6-3-3) (NO MOVEMENT) – St. Louis sits awkwardly at the moment. The Blues win the games that they should be winning and losing games that they are pegged to lose. St. Louis beat L.A. and Detroit over the past week but got shutout in a Stanley Cup Final rematch in Beantown. An unexpected win needs to happen soon, as it would get the team going; the opportunity presents itself this Tuesday versus Vancouver. Vladimir Tarasenko is out for at least 5 months, which is a big blow to the Blues.
- Florida Panthers (5-3-4) (DOWN 2) – A wild week in Western Canada for the Cats. A 2-goal comeback only to lose in a shootout versus Calgary was followed by a slaughtering of the Oilers and finally a dud in a 7-2 loss in Vancouver. If the Panthers could get consistent goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky, this team would surely be better. Bobrovsky currently sits at a .870 save percent. All of the offensive cylinders are clicking, with Jonathan Huberdeau leading the team with 13 points. The Panthers play the Avs tonight.
- Toronto Maple Leafs (6-5-3) (DOWN 5) – Something is wrong in the 6ix. Maybe the stress of being a number 1 center with no help below him is too much for Auston Matthews. Maybe the defense is not as good as everyone expected it to be. Maybe, just maybe, the Leafs aren’t as good as the media has hyped them up to be. Is head coach Mike Babcock the problem? GM Kyle Dubas didn’t want to keep him. The Leafs are entering turmoil with high expectations. Look for something to change soon.
- Calgary Flames (6-6-2) (UP 1) – Calgary can’t seem to catch a break. A 2-game losing streak seems to be looming large as they have to face Nashville tomorrow and Washington Sunday on the second half of a back to back. The offense just hasn’t put it together. Over their last 5 games, the Flames have scored 13 goals. While this is nice, they have only gotten 5 out of 10 points possible. Things just seem a bit hazy in Calgary. The Flames are in a funk.
- Columbus Blue Jackets (5-4-2) (UP 1) – A tale of 2 swords. The Blue Jackets had a 2-goal comeback versus the Canes, while surrendering their 2-goal lead to the Flyers. An OT victory versus the Hurricanes is huge but following it up with a stinker versus the Flyers where they allowed 5 unanswered goals in the 3rd period must have head coach John Tortorella sizzling. The Jackets play their next 4 versus Edmonton, St. Louis, Calgary, and Vegas. Huge test for the Jackets. Pierre-Luc Dubois must step up.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (5-4-2) (DOWN 3) – So it turns out that getting swept in the first round of the playoffs a year ago really affected the mentality of this team. Who’da thunk it? Tampa squeaked out a win against Pittsburgh, which came by the luckiest variety, with Andrei Vasilevskiy making a “save” late in the game. Tampa has now lost 2 straight to the Preds and the Rangers. The Lightning play a well-rested Devil’s team tonight. The Lightning need their depth to score.
- Philadelphia Flyers (5-5-1) (UP 2) – 2 straight wins, 2 straight losses. Wins against the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets were nullified with losses versus the Isles and division rival Pittsburgh. The Flyers were kicked while they were down versus the Pens, as they lost 7-1 last night. The big guns need to step up, with captain Claude Giroux starting the season slow with 7 points. Keeper Carter Hart is still struggling with a .864 save percent. The Flyers have New Jersey Friday and Toronto Saturday.
- Dallas Stars (5-8-1) (UP 4) – The Stars are a very middle of the road team. This team needs to figure out if they are a playoff team or not soon. The Stars have won 3 of their past 4 games, however, only one of those wins come against teams in a playoff position. Dallas has scored 10 over their past 4 matches, with 6 against the Wild last night. Tyler Seguin seems to have picked up his pace. Keep an eye on goalie Ben Bishop.
- Winnipeg Jets (6-7-0) (DOWN 2) – Splitting a pair of games over the past week, the Jets may have gotten back on track. Who’s to say? Did you know the Jets played an outdoor game Saturday night? I didn’t. Playing in a tight affair versus the Flames, the Jets came out on top, as Bryan Little scored the game winner in overtime. The win was followed with a tough loss to the Ducks last night. Connor Hellebuyck is returning to form with a .924 save percent.
- New York Rangers (4-5-1) (UP 5) – The Rangers have looked… decent over their past 3 games??? Going 2-1-0 with wins against Buffalo and Tampa Bay is a bit of a shock. Maybe there is some fight in these New York gangsters. Putting up 4 in a loss to Boston is not an easy accomplishment, and the Rags should be commended for their performance against the B’s. Artemi Panarin will need to play better than his point per game pace, along with rookie Kappo Kakko.
- San Jose Sharks (4-8-1) (DOWN 1) – The Sharks seem to have regressed back to their slow start of the season. The Sharks are in a 3-game rut. Losses to Toronto, Ottawa, and Boston, all on the road, have really pushed the Sharks to the edge. Starter Martin Jones has a .892 save percent which is just unacceptable. Sometimes we should disregard plus-minus, but this Sharks team is plain terrible. Top pair Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are a combined -18. The Sharks d-core is aging.
- Chicago Blackhawks (3-6-2) (UP 2) – Getting shutout twice over the past week does not bode well for the Blackhawks. Along with shutout losses to Carolina and Nashville, the Hawks lost 4-1 versus the Flyers. Only a 5-1 romping of the bad, no good, Kings could give the Blackhawks offense a spark. A permanent move of Robin Lehner to the starting goaltender is coming, as Corey Crawford just doesn’t have it anymore (.888 save percent). Leading goal scorer Patrick Kane has 3 goals and 9 total points. Yikes!
- Detroit Red Wings (4-8-1) (UP 3) – The Red Wings need to take this tank to the next level! Detroit was winless in 8 straight up until last night, when they beat the Oilers 3-1. Detroit’s penalty kill sits at 4th worst in the league at 71.4 percent. The power play? Not much better, sitting at 24th in the league at 14.3 percent. Jimmy Howard has been serviceable with a .910 save percent. Detroit is just boring.
- Minnesota Wild (4-8-0) (DOWN 1) – The Wild are a poorly managed, classically terrible hockey team. Going 1-2-0 over the past week with their victory being one over Los Angeles, they are barely keeping afloat right now. And that might be giving them a little too much credit. The Wild have no player with 10 points yet, and they are relatively high in games played, with 12. Leading scorer Eric Staal has 8 points. Offense comes at a premium in the state of hockey. Devan Dubnyk check? .880 save percent.
- New Jersey Devils (2-5-2) (DOWN 4) – Things didn’t go as well as they could’ve this past Saturday versus the Coyotes, but let’s try and find some bright spots. First off, the Devils played a solid game before the third period. Second, Jack Hughes recorded a 3-point game, which was needed from the number 1 pick. The Devils have Tampa tonight and Carolina Saturday. Look for Jack Hughes to play well. Surprisingly enough, the Devils don’t play on Halloween.
- Ottawa Senators (3-7-1) (UP 1) – Congrats, Ottawa; you’re moving out of the basement! You managed to win the NHL’s version of the tank bowl (if you win do you actually lose??), beating Detroit 5-2 last week. Winning 2 of their last 3 games is surely a sign of growth, right? Beating San Jose has to mean something right?? Brady Tkachuk and Nick Paul each had 3 points versus San Jose, as Tkachuk must play better. The acquisition of Connor Brown from Toronto looks great.
- Los Angeles Kings (4-8-0) (DOWN 9) – The Kings are bad! You heard that right, folks. A team built like they’re playing in 2014 is not keeping up with the 2019 season. What a shocker. Somehow, some way, the Kings sit last in the Western Conference. Their past 3 games they have been outscored 15-4. That’s really all you need to know about the Kings. Their current 3 game losing streak will be extended up to 6 as they play Vancouver, Chicago, and Toronto next. See first sentence.
Jets Photo Credit: (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Capitals Photo Credit: (Photo by Derek Cain/NHLI via Getty Images)
Hurricanes Photo Credit: (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
Penguins Photo Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Blues Photo Credit: (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
Stars Photo Credit: (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Red Wings Photo Credit: (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)